By Dirisu Yakubu
At the presentation of what turned out to be his last book on July 6, 2020, former Minister of Science and Technology, Major General Sam Momah (retd) left some food for thought in the consciousness of journalists, guests and dignitaries at the event. The book (his twelfth) “Why We Must Restructure Now,” is arguably the most authoritative piece of literature on the subject matter till date.
Away from the mere verbal tribute to restructuring, General Momah in the book he sub-titled “Nigerian Green Book,” dealt extensively with the mileage of the subject and allayed fears of those who see it as synonymous with resource control. Momah died in Abuja on Wednesday afternoon after long battle with diabetes.
Here are some of the things he said at historic event.
“Restructuring is not resource control. It is instead a globally agreed win-win strategy of replacing fossil energy with renewable energy in order to check effectively the worsening menace of global climate change which is causing floods of tsunami proportion, soil erosion, desertification and bush fire.
”Restructuring is that fundamental, constitutional and reformist change Nigeria must undergo to enable her replace sharing mindset with productive mindset for the sustainable development of the country.
”Restructuring is the deliberate and systematic replacement of oil with Technologically Diversified Economy, TDE. Diversification must be technology based because technology is the inexhaustible oil well for humanity.
“To save cost, the existing 36 states will become provinces by doing away with (amongst others) legislative and judicial arms. Now, if the new 18 states recommended by 2014 national conference are accepted, they too will be provinces and a total of 54 (36+18) provinces should be formed. Again, the number of federating states will be determined by Extraordinary Constitutional Conference, ECC…The six geo-political zones will offer the best economic benefits if operated as the six federating states.
”To initiate the entire restructuring process, a Presidential bill should be passed by the National Assembly thus empowering the ECC to hold and its outcome will then be confirmed in a national referendum. In the legislative arm, the existing 109 senate seats will be reduced to 54 (one per province) while the 360 House of Representatives seats will be reduced to 108 (two per province).
“In a restructured Nigeria, legislative duties will be part-time while security vote, constituency projects and humongous allowances will be scrapped,
“It (restructuring) must be gradually phased within ten years (2020-2030)-the Decade of Destiny. There is a general global anticipation that COVID-19 vaccine including US RESMESIVIR will be out early in 2021. Also, COVID-19 is expected to fade away by December, 2020. The federal government should therefore use the rest of 2020 to plan and thus, use early 2021 to hold the constitutional conference which will amongst others, determine the various vital phases restructuring will go through from 2021-2030. The report of the constitutional conference should go through the National cum State and the Houses of Assembly and finally, get it through people’s referendum.
“The President Buhari administration has made giant strides in many areas including strategic infrastructural developments such as the 1.6km Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Highway/rail line, Kaduna-Abuja rail line; increase in production of local food items and improving on that by initiating the Green Imperative; blocking of financial leakages through TSA, PICA, IPPIS, enhanced remittance by NCS, JAMB, etc; nothing will best practicalise the progressive appellation of the All Progressives Congress and fulfil the CHANGE mantra and the NEXT LEVEL slogan on which it rode to power in 2015 and 2019 respectively than the restructuring of Nigeria.
“The success of restructuring will depend on how best all government functionaries and political leaders from top to bottom, patronize made-in-Nigeria goods. It’s unimaginable the catalyst effect plus the millions of jobs that will be created if the federal government directs and enforces the policy that henceforth, all official vehicles and computers must be assembled in Nigeria and 2030, all vehicles for government offices, should be based on renewable energy technology.”
“The governors and not the President as Nigerians erroneously think, should shoulder the burden of Nigeria’s economy because they (the governors) control the land, the manpower and the capital (security vote) while the President physically controls only the Aso Villa.”